Rock Zone UK

SOS Festival 2019 – Day Two, Prestwich Manchester 13th July 2019

Ah the joys of a night at the Premier Inn! Suitably refreshed and after a stupidly large breakfast it was time to head back to SOS Festival. For 2019 the second day was a great chance to catch up with a number of bands we had seen before and a few new ones too – we were especially interested in seeing what Gio from the X-Factor would deliver with his band DeVience (wait and see dear readers, wait and see).

First up were Hell’s Gazelles who were new to me. What a way to start the festival – far more energy on display than was feasible at any time of the day, let alone first up on day 2 of SOS Festival!. With a frontman making use of every inch of the stage (and the floor and the room itself) it made catching photographs a trickier venture than normal but what a set. A proper rock n roll show with every note aiming to drag the crowd kicking and screaming to be involved in the party. this is what all rock shows should be like, absolutely blinding fellas.

Copyright 2019: David Wilson

Unfortunately, a few interviews meant that we were not  able to catch too much of the acoustic set by Cadence Noir, That said the bots we saw and heard were impressive and certainly put them high up on the Rock-Zone UK list of bands we need to catch as soon as possible.

Back to the Dean Hocking Stage and the set from Beth Blade and the Beautiful Disasters was really something special. it was quite obvious why we are hearing so many great things about the band and their shows. Amazing vocals (loving Beth’s very Paul Stanley-esque guitar, by the way) and a stirring show. Between songs Beth regaled us with the tale of seeing KISS the other evening and it is very clear that, like so many rock fans, she is a big KISS fan. Another great booking by the team behind SOS Festival  and if you haven’t seen the band yet just do it!

Copyright 2019: David Wilson
Copyright 2019: David Wilson

After Cadence Noir’s part two of their acoustic set was the first of a run of bands that Rock-Zone UK have had the pleasure of seeing before – Toledo Steel. Having seen these flag bearers of the New Wave of New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWONWOBHM? Is that a thing?) at the first Grimm Up North Festival in 2017 we knew what to expect and Toledo Steel gave us just that. For lovers of all things NWOBHM they have it all, the songs, the voice, the stage poses. at times reminding us a little of the mighty Maiden (no bad thing) these boy are no copyists but the influences are there to be seen

Copyright 2019: David Wilson
Copyright 2019: David Wilson

Empyre came next on the Wizz Wizzard acoustic stage and the first of a few bands we have had the pleasure of seeing and interviewing before (another interview coming soon). A great set and again another band who’s songs really take on a new life in the acoustic format. Fabulous songs from a great bunch of blokes (who very ably took part in the inaugural interview game of guess who the oldest is).  Wonderful songs and an absolutely wonderful performance.

Possibly the new band that we have seen the most over the last couple of years were next. Having followed Rock-Zone down from the North East, Tomorrow is Lost were here to show the SOS Festival faithful what all the noise is about (although vocalist Cass King is no stranger to the Dean Hocking stage, having joined the mighty Big foot last year during their revolving singer set). Two years or so of hard graft have really paid off for the band with them appearing on more and more great festival line-ups – a worthy reward for the gang, an, having seen them from some of their earliest live performances, it does this old heart proud to see the lads clearly enjoying themselves on stage. Even better, another show completed with Cass in one piece. With the band soon to embark on their first full length album, surely good things await? (Assuming, of course, there is still some justice in the world that rewards hard work and effort)

Copyright 2019: David Wilson
Copyright 2019: David Wilson

The bluesy rock of Ireland’s Samarkind were up next – proving that the greatness of SOPS Festival lies in the ability to cater for a range of musical styles/genres. Fabulous stuff all around, a little reminiscent of the likes of Bad Company and Zep in places but, again, these boys were doing their own thing rather than aiming to follow the latest musical trends. Quality vocals, great guitar tone (and an interview coming soon too)

Copyright 2019: David Wilson

More interviews had been scheduled so unfortunately we couldn’t catch any of Metaprism (sorry) but the buzz seemed to be growing for the arrival on stage of “that lad from X-Factor”. What would this be like? Can the stories be true? A proper rock singer ona TV talent show? Would we be witness to a big voice with a big ego? What was to come? Well, I shall freely admit to being more than a trifle sceptical but I am a rock fan first and foremost so was prepared to give DeVience (with Gio on vocals) a fair crack. So as the set started I assumed the obvious position – legs slightly apart, arms folded and that look of a middle aged rock fan thinking “go on then, show us what you’ve got” (come on, you know exactly what I mean). With a couple of covers of classic rock fare thrown in amongst their own stuff I can safely report – this is a band. A proper band, not a singer with a few hired hands. it felt right, looked right and, best of all sounded right. Gio is certainly confident – treading the right side of the line which has supreme confidence on one side and arrogant on the other, this is a man who knows what he wants to do and certainly looks to be doing it all for the right reasons. I was fanboying far too much for a man of my age, that’s how impressive the set was.

Copyright 2019: David Wilson
Copyright 2019: David Wilson

Fantasist were next and what a wonderful surprise. Celebrating their 10th anniversary, We had not seen them previously (I am a little ashamed to admit to having a copy of their album in the possession of Rock-Zone UK but hadn’t managed to give it a spin) and they were Fantas(ist)astic. Appealing to our new found love of Devin Townsend and all thing modern prog, this was  ace. Not just that, the boys were clearly having a blast on the stage.

Copyright 2019: David Wilson

A larger headline set on the acoustic stage from Luke Appleton was split into three parts. A perfect showcase for the Iced Earth and Absolva member to let us hear the works from his latest album “Snake Eyes”, with a couple of guest in the form of Rishi Mehta from Babylon Fire and Theresa Smith from Metaprism. The album is awesome and tonight’s set(s) were equally great. We are really looking forward to the forthcoming tour when it hits Newcastle (amongst other places) in September.

Copyright 2019: David Wilson

Having enjoyed an interview with Gemma Fox a couple of years ago, we had made time to get to know and love Collibus but tonight was the first time Rock-Zone had seent he band live. The two albums are an exceptional pair of releases with phenomenal writing, guitar and vocals but live there was only one word — WOW!

Copyright 2019: David Wilson

Closing off the second day, coming back to SOS Festival like returning World Champions were crowd favourites A Joker’s Rgae. Why so popular? Simple – when the #GameFace is on, these boys show the world how to deliver a rock and roll show. People ask who will replace KISS as the great rock show leaders now they slip disgracefully into retirement (we think)? Well with no shadow of doubt, A joker’s Rage should be the kings. Coming on to a blast of smoke jets, spotlights, guitar sol, Native American Head-dress, confetti cannons andsome stirring tunes what’s not to love?They came, they saw, they conquered and they Bounce-d

Copyright 2019: David Wilson
Copyright 2019: David Wilson

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